Car Hire & International Driving Permits

Renting a car and self driving can be a great way to explore Japan, giving you the freedom and flexibility to travel to areas less well covered by the rail network.

Depending on availability at the time of your trip, many car hire companies now offer vehicles with English satnav systems but if there are none available when you are hiring your car, we can provide English roadmaps for you.

The Japanese road system derived from that of Britain so cars drive on the left. Nowadays, road signs nearly everywhere are in English as well as Japanese and if you are a confident driver, this can be an excellent way to see Japan.

We would be very happy to arrange car hire for you as part of your trip – please ask us for more information if this is something you would like to do.

If you plan to drive in Japan, you will need an International Driving Permit (IDP). These are not issued in Japan and should be obtained in your home country before you set off. Note that Japan only recognizes international driving permits based on the 1949 Geneva Convention, which are issued by a large number of countries, including the UK and USA.

In the UK, International driving permits can be obtained from the Post Office for £5.50 but please note that you will need to present both your UK licence and the paper counterpart together when applying.